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Infertility coverage for same-sex couples passes

Same-sex couples in Maryland would get the same insurance coverage for infertility treatments as heterosexual couples do, under a bill passed by the General Assembly Thursday.

The House voted 93 to 45 to approve the measure, which now goes to Gov. Larry Hogan for his signature.  The Senate earlier passed the bill, which was sponsored by Sen. Cheryl C. Kagan, a Montgomery County Democrat.

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Maryland requires state-regulated health insurance plans that offer pregnancy-related benefits to cover the costs of in vitro fertilization. But the law specified that only the husband's sperm could be used in any covered in vitro procedure, effectively barring coverage for lesbians using donated sperm.  The bill would remove that restriction.

Some opposed the bill because they didn't think the state should be mandating insurance coverage for in vitro at all. But supporters successfully portrayed the legislation as a fairness issue, arguing that if coverage is mandated, it should be available equally to same-sex as well as heterosexual couples.

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